In ’09, NMHC/NAA Plan to Work on Restoring Apartment Industry’s Access to Capital

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.– The National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) will in 2009, working together through their joint legislative program, work on ways to bring about a more balanced federal housing policy toward the apartment market.The two associations say restoring access to capital is the highest legislative priority of the apartment industry in 2009 and the two organizations will do what they can to ensure that the voice of the apartment industry is heard.NMHC/NAA has released their 2009 public policy agenda as part of NAA’s annual Capitol Conference, which brings apartment professionals to Washington, D.C. for personal meetings with lawmakers.”Over the next two years, an estimated $60-$80 billion in multifamily mortgages will mature and need to be refinanced,” says Jim Arbury, senior vice president of government affairs for NMHC/NAA. “But with credit markets virtually collapsed because of the single-family meltdown, apartment owners who are meeting their financial obligations but whose mortgages mature in 2009 and 2010 face difficulties. And without credit, construction of new apartments has virtually stalled at a time when the percentage of Americans who rent is growing and the national homeownership rate is dropping.”Douglas Culkin, CAE, NAA president adds, “Most of the financial problems our country now faces were caused by the excessive embrace of homeownership. We need a more balanced housing policy. Our country has serious housing needs right now that simply can’t be met through a ‘homeownership only’ housing policy.”In addition to restoring the apartment sector’s access to capital and highlighting the need for a balanced housing policy, NMHC/NAA will weigh in on other important issues throughout 2009, including:Carried Interest. NMHC/NAA believe that Congressional efforts to raise taxes on certain hedge fund income should not include real estate partnerships. Green Building/Energy Efficiency. NMHC/NAA urge policymakers to consider all avenues for achieving sustainability in the residential sector, not only issues related to the building shell and mechanical systems governed by building codes.Union “Card Check” Proposal. NMHC/NAA believe that the proposed “card check” legislation that labor unions support could change the entire culture of the American workplace, tipping the balance overwhelmingly in favor of unions at a considerable cost to business and employees.”In any given year, there are 30 or more issues in Congress that can affect the health of the rental housing market,” says Arbury. “We use these Capitol Hill visits to educate members of Congress on these and other issues crucial to the apartment sector.”